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Saskatchewan to send patients to Alberta for privatized surgery, won't pay for travel

Saskatchewan will begin paying a Calgary clinic this fall to perform 20 knee and hip surgeries a month for those on province's surgical wait list.
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Paul Merriman, minister of health, speaks to media at the Legislative Building in Regina on Oct. 27, 2021. Saskatchewan says it will be sending people to Alberta to get privatized surgeries, but the cost of travel won't be covered by the government. Merriman says the Saskatchewan Party government will begin paying a Calgary clinic this fall to perform 20 knee and hip surgeries a month for those on Saskatchewan's surgical wait list. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

REGINA — Saskatchewan says it will be sending people to Alberta to get privatized surgeries, but the cost of travel won't be covered by the government.

Health Minister Paul Merriman says the Saskatchewan Party government will begin paying a Calgary clinic this fall to perform 20 knee and hip surgeries a month for those on Saskatchewan's surgical wait list.

He says if a patient has the option to go to Calgary, they will have to incur the travel expense.

Merriman says sending patients for privatized care out of province will result in patients having their surgeries done faster.

He says it will also open up another spot within Saskatchewan's public system. 

NDP Opposition Leader Carla Beck criticized the delivery of out-of-province privatized care, saying the government is creating a two-tier health system that prioritizes people who have more income. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022. 

The Canadian Press